A new report from Alcatel-Lucent suggests that more than 11.6 million mobile devices are infected with malware. It’s based on figures from Alcatel-Lucent’s Kindsight subsidiary, which is able to measure the impact of network traffic.
Mobile malware infections were said to be up by 20% in 2013, with higher data consumption by 4G LTE devices making these the most likely to be infected. The mobile infection rate was 0.55% of all devices in Q4 2013, which would mean that over 11.6 million mobile devices worldwide are infected with malware. Over 20 times more mobile malware samples were identified in 2013 compared with the previous year.
Infections via residential fixed networks remained relatively flat for 2013 at 10%.
Around 60% of all mobile network infections were on Android devices, with 40% originating from Windows laptops connected via a mobile phone, a mobile USB stick or a mobile WiFi hub. Less than 1% of infections were on Apple iPhones and BlackBerry handsets. Attacks on Android devices were often via modified apps or by ‘phishing’ scams.
Kevin McNamee, director of Alcatel-Lucent’s Kindsight Security Labs, said “Criminals traditionally go after low hanging fruit. Not only is Android the largest smartphone market, unlike iPhone and Blackberry, it allows apps to be loaded from third party sites. This provides cybercriminals with an un-policed mechanism to distribute their malware which can easily evade detection by device-based anti-virus. Thus, in 2013 we saw an increased trend towards operators offering network based anti-virus security to subscribers as a service.”
[Kindsight Security Labs Malware Report – Q4 2013 (pdf)]